Flood Aftermath Hits Communities

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By Anna Ingwafa

OSHAKATI

Due to its limited search and rescue operations capacity, the body of a 22-year-old woman who drowned at Uuvudhiya constituency in Oshana region on March 21 has not yet been recovered.

This was disclosed by the Flood Emergency Coordinator Erastus Negonga at a media update on the flood situation in Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto regions.

There has been an increase in cholera cases and so far four people have died from the disease, while the number of recorded cases is 896 with 16 confirmed laboratory cases.

Malaria cases have increased also from 1 312 to 19 08 in less than ten days and claimed 11 lives from Ohangwena, Oshana and Omusati regions.

The report indicated that 17 clinics are still out of reach while the affected regions rely heavily on two helicopters to deliver much needed help to the people.

Negonga said that helicopters are costly to refuel and at the moment the Government is the only one responsible for refueling them.

None of the stakeholders approached by the Government has come forth with monetary donations to refuel the two helicopters.

The coordination office did not record significant rainfall in the four regions for two weeks now and the water level is subsiding.

It was reported that communities in fifteen constituencies are still trapped by floodwater in their villages in the four regions.

Regarding road infrastructure development, Omafo-Engela Bridge opened to five-ton vehicles. There’s no vehicle weight limit on the bridge between Omungwelume and Ongenga – rehabilitated by the engineering regiment of the Namibia Defence Force. Other flooded roads remain impassable.

Negonga mentioned that water purification tablets and mosquito nets are needed to be delivered to health centres and constituency offices for distribution to affected people. More donations, preferable foodstuffs, are still needed.

He made a call to counselling groups to come forth and counsel the flood victims as people are suffering emotionally due to the floods.

Learners in these regions are also suffering heavily. Currently there are 94 schools affected by the floods.

Oshana Education Deputy Director Immanuel Aipanda made an appeal for donations.

Regional Health Director Dr Naftali Hamata called on cattle owners to buy mosquito nets for their cattle herders to avoid malaria, a call that is directed to everyone residing in malaria-prone regions.

He said there are 17 possible contagious diseases, but the fear above all is the possibility of a bilharzia outbreak particularly in Omusati region. He warned those that are standing to fish in the water that the bilharzia bacterium penetrates the human body through the skin and people are warned to stay away.

Hamata urged people to drink purified water and use toilets to avoid possible outbreaks of diseases.

The Flood Emergency Management Coordination Office has managed to relocate flood victims from Ongwediva Trade Fair to Greenwell Matongo Reception Area in Ongwediva.

Negonga said that the relocation was done thanks to the central government for availing enough tents to accommodate these people.

Ongwediva Trade Fair is expected to host the fair towards the end of the year. he office is busy preparing to relocate flood victims from Oshakati Independence Stadium to Oshoopala Reception Area in Oshakati.

At Omusati Region there is no established reception area for flood victims yet but according to Negonga the villagers were resettled at their villages.

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